Scholarships & Funds

The Bert Hoffmeister Scholarship

Bert Hoffmeister was the first chairman of The Nature Trust of British Columbia and guided the organization for 20 years. This scholarship is awarded annually to a graduate student in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. It is a joint effort by The Nature Trust, Wildlife Habitat Canada, BC Ministry of Environment and the Province of BC.

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2016-2017 Devin de Zwaan,

The causes and consequences of variation in nestling development for an alpine population of Horned Larks near Smithers, B.C.

Devin is also fitting Horned Larks with geolocators to track migration and evaluate life-history variation over the full annual cycle.

2014-2015 Jessica Krippel


2013-2014 Kate Johnson

Investigate interactions between colonizing fox sparrows (Passerella iliaca) and resident song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) on Mandarte Island

I will test the hypothesis that competition explains a long-term decline in this song sparrow population.

2012-2013 and 2011/2012 Ryan Germain

Effects of habitat quality on female nest-site selection and ultimately on reproductive success in songbirds

Using environmental attributes of nest-sites such as predation, micro-climate, and population density, I will partition components of variance in territory quality and individual female genetic quality as they affect reproduction in a long-term study population of Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia), and clarify the contributions of each to population growth and persistence.

2010/2011 Martha Essak

Selection and drivers of selection on laying date in Song Sparrows

Influential drivers of selection can include inbreeding, age, density, nest parasitism by cowbirds and climate. Drivers of selection can vary from year to year, and selection can favor increased reproduction or increased survival, so each year the optimal time to start laying can be different. Research will examine over 35 years of data collected on the Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) population of Mandarte Island, located in the southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

2009/2010 Margaret Branton

How conservation/restoration strategies designed for a single species may translate to benefits to the larger ecological community

2008/2009 Matthew Tomlinson

Historical landscape reconstruction and salmonid habitat in the Interior Columbia Basin

2007/2008 Scott and Amy Wilson

Potential impacts of climate change on Rock Ptarmigan and White-tailed Ptarmigan in the southern Yukon

Population genetics of island populations of Song Sparrows on the Pacific Coast

2005/2006 Kathryn Aitken

Community structure, niche partitioning and resource variability in cavity-nesting birds and mammals
The research is being conducted on Becher’s Prairie west of Williams Lake where data has been collected on almost 3,000 nests since 1995. She is examining how cavity resources are shared among members of the community (Northern Flickers, Mountain Chickadees, Tree Swallows, Red Squirrels and other birds and mammals), how competition influences nest site selection, whether populations of species in the community are limited by availability of cavities, and how cavities change over time.

2004/2005 – Kelly Jewell

The effects of parasitism on island populations of Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia).
In question is the brood parasite, the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater), which invaded coastal BC in the 1950s. Previous work on Mandarte Island in the Gulf of Georgia has shown that the presence of cowbirds increases the sparrows’ rate of next failure.

2003/2004 – Alana Hilton

How salamanders respond to forest harvesting activities.
Although there are several hypotheses about why amphibian population size and species richness may decline in harvested sites, very few studies have set out to test them. She is using two large-scale field enclosures at UBC’s Malcolm Knapp Research Forest to assess the survival and growth of a common amphibian species in the Pacific Northwest, the northwestern salamander (Ambystoma gracile).

2002/2003 – Simone Runyan

The genetics and population dynamics of small populations; modeling the effect of stress and inbreeding depression on the probability of population extinction in a small isolated population.
Her work is based on Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) of the 6 hectare (15 acre) Mandarte Island, just east of Sidney, Vancouver Island.

The Dr. Ian and Joyce McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship

Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan was a scientist, researcher and director of The Nature Trust. This scholarship in honour of him and his wife Joyce recognizes conservation studies at the University of Victoria.

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2014/2015 Frances Stewart

2013/2014 Julie Munich

2012/2013 Kira Hoffman

She is a PhD student in the School of Environmental Studies studying the impacts of climate change in blanket bogs on the Central Coast.

2011/2012 Martina Beck

(Member of the Seafood Ecology Research Group in the School of Environmental Studies) is studying non-native smallmouth bass in BC lakes.

2008/2009 Kris Kloehn

Research in the field of finfish aquaculture, specifically how salmon farms affect host parasite dynamics of wild fish in the Broughton Archipelago

2007/2008 Sara Duncan


2006/2007 Robert Gray

(Master’s student) is a consultant fire ecologist with over 25 years of experience

2005/2006 Jeff Ralph

(Completed Restoration of Natural Systems diploma) is raising awareness about the interconnectedness and interdependence between humans and the natural world

2004/2005 – Thomas Munson

(Master’s student in Interdisciplinary Studies) is devoting his life to the area of ecological restoration.

2003/2004 – Lisa Levesque

(Master’s student studying ecological restoration, protected areas management, forest ecology and first peoples’ history) is a participant in the Rocky Mountain Repeat Photography Project which will be re-photographing hundreds of historical landscape photographs in Waterton Lakes National Park in order to make future management decisions within the park.

The Brink/McLean Grassland Conservation Fund

For over 50 years, Dr. Bert Brink and Dr. Alastair McLean dedicated their lives to the conservation of BC’s natural legacy, particularly the grasslands of the Southern Interior. To ensure this conservation continues, this fund promotes applied research, habitat restoration and other stewardship activities that will assist in the management of the land, plants and animals of BC’s native grasslands. Click here to find out how to apply.

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  • Elly Knight (Program Manager) and Paul Preston (BC Regional Coordinator), WildResearch – Roadside monitoring of nightjar populations in BC’s grasslands using acoustic surveys to improve precision of population estimates.


  • Dr. Karl Larsen (supervisor) and Stephanie Winton (MSc candidate), Thompson Rivers University – Identifying habitat relationships and the impact of road mortality on western rattlesnake and tiger salamander populations in the White Lake Basin.


  • Don Gayton  – Long-term vegetation monitoring at the Parker Mountain and Mclellan grazing research site exclosures on the White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch.



  • Angela Boag – MSc. Candidate, Forest and Conservation Sciences in the Faculty of Forestry, UBC
    Developing a predictive habitat distribution model and map for Garry Oak meadows.
  • Chris Armstrong – Project leader and North Chilcotin Area Supervisor, BC Provincial Parks
    Assessing Northern Woodland Caribou grassland habitats in Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park.


  • Ms. Elly Knight – MSc candidate in the Centre for Wildlife Ecology at SFU
    Assessing impacts to shrubsteppe fragmentation by agriculture on nest predation of songbirds in the South Okanagan


  • Ms. Josie Symonds – MSc candidate, UBC Okanagan
    Assessing patterns and ecological consequences of invasive plants in the Antelope-brush ecosystem in the South Okanagan


  • Megan Harrison - MSc Candidate, Centre for Wildlife Ecology, SFU
    Defining breeding habitat selection mechanisms for the red-listed sagebrush Brewer’s sparrow (Spizella breweri breweri)
  • Joe Bennett - PhD Student, Faculty of Forest Sciences, UBC
    Assessing patterns and ecological consequences of invasive plants in the Antelope-brush ecosystem in the South Okanagan


  • Pat Robinson - MSc Candidate, Department of Biological Sciences, SFU
    Determining thresholds if habitat quality for breeding birds in rangeland ecosystems in the Cariboo Region.


  • Dr. Judith Myers - Department of Zoology and Agroecology, UBC
    Evaluation of the biological control of Diffuse Knapweed in the Southern Okanagan Valley and at the Vaseux Lake burn site
  • Lita Gomez - MSc candidate, Department of Biology, UVic
    Selection of critical summer habitat and migration pathways by the Western Rattlesnake (year 2)


  • Kathryn Aitken - PhD candidate, Centre for Applied Conservation Research, Faculty of Forestry, UBC
    Avian biodiversity and cavity nesting bird reproduction in isolated aspen groves in the Chilcotin grasslands of the interior of BC
  • Lita Gomez - MSc candidate, Department of Biology, UVic
    Selection of critical summer habitat and migration pathways by the Western Rattlesnake


  • Brenda Baptiste - Manager, Nk’mip Desert and Heritage Centre, BC
    Western rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganos) conservation and habitat use in the South Okanagan Valley
  • Dr. George W. Douglas - Douglas Ecological Consultants
    Rare plant inventory in the South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area
  • Daniela Rambaldini - MSc candidate specializing in bat research.
    Protecting threatened Pallid bats (Antrozous pallidus) in the Okanagan Valley.
  • Donna Thornton- Ecosystem Biologist, Omineca Region Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
    Naturalness Rating System as tested in the Euchiniko Sidehills


  • Dilara Ally- PhD candidate in Forest Sciences
    Subject:Researching patterns of genetic diversity in Cariboo-Chilcoltin aspen stands.
  • Denise Birdstone (Band administrator of Tobacco Plains Indian Band)
    Tobacco Plains Indian Reserve grasslands inventory and assessment project.
  • Bruno Delasselle - Executive Director of the Grasslands Conservation Council of BC
    BC grasslands mapping project.
  • Dr. Janet Marsh- Sessional instructor at the University of Northern BC
    Preliminary inventory of soil crusts (Cryptogamic) in big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) sites along an elevational gradient in native grasslands in Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park.
  • Madelon Schouten - Chair of the Vermilion Forks Field Naturalists)
    Reseeding component of the Swan Lake wildlife viewing and habitat restoration project.
  • Lisa Scott - Chair of South Okanagan-Similkameen Weed Committee)
    Study of diffuse knapweed biocontrol agents within the South Okanagan grasslands.

Rain Garden Fund

The Nature Trust has established an endowment fund to support community rain garden projects. This initiative addresses the environmental and economic advantages of getting stormwater back into the ground, as well as the desirability of raising citizen awareness and supporting local involvement in aquatic habitat protection. Thanks to our donors, the Rain Garden Fund currently stands at $100,000.

If you would like to discuss a project, please e-mail Robin Rivers or call 604-924-9771.

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BCIT Rivers Institute Rain Garden (in planning stages)

Yarrow Ecovillage Rain Garden (2013)

Delview Secondary School Rain Garden (2012)

Parksville Rain Garden (2012)

Burnsview Secondary School Rain Garden (2011)

Seaquam Secondary School Rain Garden (2011)

North Delta Evangelical Free Church Rain Garden (2009)

Friends of Mount Douglas Park Rain Garden (2008)

Alouette River Management Society Rain Garden (2007)

Victoria West Elementary School Rain Garden (2007)

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Conserving Land in BC for Future Generations